Forum: Withdrawal limits commensurate with S'poreans' healthcare needs

We thank Dr Yik Keng Yeong for his feedback (Why set Medisave withdrawal limit to per-patient basis?, March 16).

To help Singaporeans manage their chronic conditions, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has been expanding financing support to them. This includes primary care chronic subsidies under the new Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) green card, and special outpatient and Chas subsidies for the Pioneer and Merdeka generations.

Under the Medisave500 scheme, patients are able to withdraw up to $500 yearly to further offset their costs for outpatient chronic disease treatments, approved vaccinations and screenings.

As the cost of treatment is closely linked to the complexity of a patient's chronic medical condition, MOH will introduce Medisave700 from Jan 1 next year to better support patients with complex chronic conditions who will be able to withdraw up to $700 yearly under the scheme.

We expect more than 176,000 patients to benefit from the higher withdrawal limit.

MOH has carefully studied the impact of the change of the withdrawal limits to a per-patient basis. Only a small proportion of patients will exceed this limit, especially with the new higher limits for patients with complex conditions. This is also similar to how the rest of the Medisave withdrawal limits are structured.

Furthermore, family members can still use their Medisave to pay for the patient's treatment as suggested by Dr Yik, up to the annual limit of the patient.

Patients who face difficulties with their subsidised medical bills may approach their medical institutions for advice and assistance, and those in need may apply for more financial support through Medifund. No Singaporean will be denied access to appropriate healthcare due to an inability to pay.

Cham Dao Song

Director, Finance Policy

Ministry of Health

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